I have a confession to make: I’ve been having a really hard time keeping my eyes on the prize. I am very grateful to have a job that helps provide for our family, has great benefits, and a fairly flexible schedule. But it’s not good for my soul.
I find myself increasingly frustrated at my day job.
I feel more and more that my work there isn’t as meaningful as I want it to be.
My spidey senses tell me that Management will continue to make the same mistakes as it always has and there is no incentive for (or interest in) changing for the better.
I used to think it was funny when people compared my place of employment to the movie Office Space. Now I just find it incredibly tragic. Bureaucracy is a cancer and I wish more than anything that I could cut it out of my organization. Not for my own benefit, but for the amazing people I work with, so they don’t have to be frustrated, too. Unfortunately when I tried, I learned that the Cancer fights back.
I’m finding that vacations are helping less and less. I dread going back to my day job after a few days off. I want to quit. Oh boy, do I want to quit in the worst way way. I daydream about putting in my two weeks notice on a regular basis. But I can’t quit. Not yet.
My husband and I have some big goals to achieve for our family before I can walk away from the day job. No matter how much I hate it, no matter how much it feels like it’s sucking the life right out of me with every meeting that should have been an email, or useless buzzwords being thrown around like confetti at a Memorial Day parade.
So I’ve started doing things to keep me on track and remind me that my time there isn’t completely in vain.
If you’re working to get away from your day job to pursue a dream, these ideas might help you, too.
Here’s what keeps me going on the days that I want to go all Leonitis and kick people down wells:
1.) My Family. First and foremost, is taking care of and helping in providing for our family. My husband and I are working to give our kids an amazing life. We both grew up in households where our parents struggled to make ends meet. While that experience shaped us into the people we are today, we want to be able to do things like save a little toward college educations (so they don’t have to be stuck with as much student loan debt as we are), go on small special trips as a family, and ultimately teach our children that money is a tool that can be used for good.
I want to pull the kids out of daycare and be at home for them when they get off the bus – or better yet, take them to school myself. I want to be super flexible for special activities at school. Don’t get me wrong, we love our daycare providers. They are amazing people and we love them. It’s just that I would love to have even more time with my kids. Squeaks is almost 3, so he’ll be in his very first year of preschool this Fall. While I probably won’t be able to quit by then, my goal is to have my Etsy Shop and other aspects of my graphic design business be successful enough to quit by the time he’s in Kindergarten (two years).
I keep pictures of my kids and husband front and center at my day job to reinforce that they come first and I have to do something I don’t like to eventually give all of us an even better life.
2. We Want to Be Debt Free. The thing that bothers me the most about my current misery-inducing job situation, is that our student loans prevent me from being able to quit. That feeling makes me angier and angrier every time I stop and really think about it.
I’ve realized that I never, ever, want to be in a position again where I’m trapped in a job I hate because of a debt that needs to be paid. If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, you’ll know that we’re following Dave Ramsey’s plan and paying off our debt snowball. We’re making impressive dents in our remaining debt, and it’s truly motivating and exciting.
I’ve been keeping a running total on a sticky note on the corner of my work laptop and crossing it off with the newer, lower amount every time we make a payment. Seeing that number go down really helps. Being debt free also ties directly into a calling that I truly feel God put on our hearts.
3. We want to go on a Missions trip. This will probably have to wait until Squeaks and Lady Bug are older, but we want to be in a stable financial position so we can go make a difference somewhere and not worry the entire plane ride home about how we’re going to pay our bills when we get back. We also want to be generous givers and help people in need. A missions trip would be infinitely easier to plan with me being my own boss, and money there to finance the trip.
4.) I Want to Run My Own Business Full Time. I want more than anything for Graceful Guessing to succeed. I have so many offshoot ideas that I have to track them in my iPhone Notes so I don’t lose them. And I’m constantly thinking of ways to grow my little business online and offline. With every item I create, I feel more and more alive. I’m doing something I love and it makes me happy. Of course, I want to make my customers super happy, too. Yes, it’s extra hustle right now, but I want to see it pay big dividends later. I grow as a graphic designer every day, and it’s exciting. The difference in my work a month ago to now is staggering, and I can’t wait to see where it’s at in a year.
But unfortunately my little business isn’t ready to support our family. I’m confident I can get it there, but building a business is not a get rich overnight kind of thing. But the sooner we get our student loans out of the picture, the sooner leaving my job for my business could be a reality.
For now, staying at the job that I hate with a passion is important to making these dreams reality. Even though everyday I feel like a bear in a trap, ready to chew my paw off to get away, I have to be patient and work hard.
If you’re struggling in the same way I am right now, I encourage you to do the same. Like Jon Acuff says in his book Quitter, your day job finances your dream job. Hang onto that fact and tuck it in a safe place, so when you’re ready to go full-on Jerry Maguire, you’ll take a step back and think.
We owe it to our dreams. We owe it to ourselves.
Honor your dreams by giving them the chance to grow.
Remember what you’re working for.